Posted by psgels on 21 August 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Here’s another one I haven’t heard anyone talk about, or even mention for that matter. Kaze no Youjinbou is an obscure series that aired back in 2001, but seems to have become nearly forgotten over the past eight years, which is a bloody shame because it’s a really good series. Recommended for anyone who’s into a good mystery series.

This series is about criminal gangs in a small mining town, and the street-punks, corrupt politicians, villagers and police officers around them. Street-punks and yakuza in anime are very often incredibly stereotypical. They’re either a bunch of screaming and evil paper bags who appear just out of random and attack the lead characters in order to insert some random tension, or they’re portrayed as those cheesy thugs with a heart of gold and a strong sense of bushido. Kaze no Youjinbou however portrays them as ordinary people: not pure evil, but it also doesn’t try to glorify their greed, the crimes they commit and their twisted outlook on life. It tries to look into what drives these people to start horrible turf wars that involve entire towns. And I must say that they succeed in this very well.

But at heart, this series is a mystery-series, based on a classic film by Akira Kurosawa. The thing I liked best about this series is how it really takes its time to let the story introduce itself instead of rushing through the beginning: you won’t have any idea what this series is going to be about in the beginning, because it’s very carefully introducing every major character, while showing a very detailed portrayal of how they live their lives. You’ll never know when something is just meant to flesh out the characters or develop the plot the moment it happens and despite the very slow pacing, there’s always something small going on.

This series has really done well in making its setting come alive in the first half. When the lead character runs into someone, it feels like this someone was there because he’s part of the setting, rather than for the sake of the plot. Even when characters are out of the screen, you can feel tat they’re all carrying out their own agendas, instead of waiting for the camera to focus back on them. Unfortunately, this effect disappears in the second half, which becomes more like a straight-forward gang war and this show loses a bit of its subtlety. It’s because of this that in my opinion, the second half is less impressive than the first half: it’s another one of those mystery-series that’s better at asking questions, rather than answering them, but it nevertheless keeps your attention until the end, which does wrap up everything nicely.

The animation in this series ranges from really bad to really good. This means that there are some action scenes that are a bit hard to take seriously due to the incredibly cheap visuals (a certain scene of a car driving down a road stands out in particular), but in exchange for that there are plenty of scenes that have absolutely amazing visuals. The colour-palette is full of washed out and grayish colours that give this series a very cold atmosphere, but the direction is what really gives this series its own unique visual identity. There are lots of very creative camera angles, gorgeous shots and poses, awesome shading and some of the animated scenes are full of life and detail that make a huge impact when they need to. Especially episode 13 stands out in these downright awesome visuals.

It’s a shame, really. Today, I pretty much consider Studio Pierrot as the single worst of the big animation companies out there. However, before they found their cash cows of Naruto and Bleach, they were a really good production company, with their own visual style and quite a few excellent titles on their names. Ever since Victorian Romance Emma ended however, they seemed to have completely given up on trying to do anything creative with their talents, and that’s such an incredible shame. Series like Kaze no Youjinbou, Great Teacher Onizuka, Fancy Lala and Emma definitely show that they’ve got the ability to do much more than what they’re doing right now.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

3 Responses

  1. Denizen says:

    I agree Studio Pierrot are pretty crappy, though it does seem they’re trying more new series. Personally i’m looking forward to seeing how “Letter Bee” turns out in Fall, as it’s shounen manga but it’s not the merchandise-whores of Blue Dragon or the upcoming Yumeiro Patissiere respectively.

    They CAN make good stuff, what they can’t do is effectively bring that out regularly or cohesively.

  2. Scamp says:

    People seem too ready to bash Pierrot for Naruto and Bleach, fogetting they can make some really good anime when they feel like it. Plus Narubleach brought them a load of money so they should have plenty of resources to create some new quality series.

    I’m personally looking forward to Letter Bee. They brought out a pilot episode a while back and it was excellent. You should check out that one episode psgels

  3. Evirus says:

    I kind of gave up pimping Kaze no Yojimbo at every opportunity because I couldn’t convince anyone to watch it. The wait between the episode Soldats left off at to the release of the final Bandai DVD was quite long, but well worth it.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 09:55 PM)
    @Agej, Yes it would be interesting to see how they have changed. Wonder what you are going to do if they haven’t? You won’t be able to go the “You are killing the blog” route anymore.
    Flowery or not, the point is you are pretty much trying to say that you don’t like us very much. I would just appreciate it if you outright said it instead of going around the issue and presenting groundless assumptions.
  • Agej
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 09:27 PM)
    Also the stats you’re referring to are from a while ago, aren’t they? Its be interesting to see how they’ve changed.
  • Agej
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 09:26 PM)
    Also my language isn’t “flowery”. I just don’t talk over the internet so Mich, so I compose my messages as I do a letter or essay. I am very inefficient. You should see my texts.
  • Agej
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 09:20 PM)
    I don’t like chaaaange
  • dywight linton
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 08:33 PM)
    lol
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 03:17 PM)
    Things psgels was made to cover, oh good lord find me the head of the true sadist who made him blog persona 4.
    I believe Age has missed tthe Grisaia post where Aidan said he would not be following the show.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 01:50 PM)
    Lets just toss the flowerly tongue and get to the nitty gritty here.
    You don’t like me or any of the other writers and you would prefer to have a static blog instead of it being updated by people who are not psgels. Great, opinion noted.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 01:45 PM)
    “Thus, people are checking for updates less.”
    ….based on? Cause from what I hear from ninja the blog is still getting the page views it did during psgels days. Also on Mantinance fees, Ninja did say he would pay for them but it seems psgels refused.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 01:40 PM)
    @agej, I honestly can’t tell if you are being sincere or just taking the piss.
    “Psgels dropped shows he doesn’t like because he doesn’t just write for the sake of filling space on the feed.”
    Again why are we asuming here? I have dropped a show I didn’t like. If I didn’t like these shows I wouldn’t be writing about them. Also note that psgels did take a request to blog something and you could always tell that he was never into the show.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 06:29 AM)
    Eh, k-off if your around, theres a documentary film out there about The shinbet Israeli intelligence network recruiting the son of a Hamas leader which made for an interesting, engaging enough watch, it was called The green prince.

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